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  1. #1
    Look 555 fledgling catherine96821's Avatar
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    Top Five Mistakes by New Cyclists

    Please help me.

    I don't do group rides or read cycling mags or have friends that cycle....

    Okay, here are my guesses, based on myself. Am I even close?

    1) No powered upstroke, poor form.

    2) leaning too much on my palms and need to shift back to my core.

    3) cadence needs thought to stay high (90's)

    4) gear selection not always mentally auto enough.

    5) too much braking

    I'm pretty confident my fit is right, it feels good, was fitted by a pro who rode with me, etc.

    What should I be focused on now that I am well underway? For the most part my focus has been traffic, potholes and my HR. I ride about an hour with my HR in the 150-60's.

    I have a trainer "CycleOps" but I don't use it, I don't know how to start, it is pretty boring. Any beginner programs? Its too windy today outside.
    Last edited by catherine96821; 03-31-08 at 03:59 PM.
    from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

  2. #2
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Riding the next three feet instead of 30.
    Mike
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    Why am I in your signature.

  3. #3
    Riding is my addiction jwill911's Avatar
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    There's a lot of good free information out there on the Internet, it doesn't have to come from magazine subscriptions.
    Pez Cycling News Training "Tool Box" is a great place to start.
    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=toolbox
    Road Bike Rider
    http://www.roadbikerider.com/index.htm
    The list is endless

    jw
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    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    riding in too high of a gear

    elbows sticking out

    mashing the pedals

    overtraining and injuring themselves

    not drinking or eating enough
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    About cadence ... if you are a long distance cyclist you want your cadence somewhere between 85 and 100. But if you're into racing, the sky is the limit on cadence. I'm a long distance cyclist and my cadence sits between 85 and 90 and I'm very comfortable there ... my knees are comfortable.

    ------------------------------------------

    Mistake #1. Going out too hard and too long.

    Mistake #2. Not eating and drinking enough.

    Mistake #3. Riding a bicycle that doesn't fit.

    -------------------------------------------

    And as for your last question ... if you are riding an hour a day now (how many days each week? 5?) ... pick one or two days each week and start upping the time/distance on those days by about 10% per week.

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Please help me.

    I don't do group rides or read cycling mags or have friends that cycle....

    Okay, here are my guesses, based on myself. Am I even close?

    1) No powered upstroke, poor form.

    2) leaning too much on my palms and need to shift back to my core.

    3) cadence needs thought to stay high (90's)

    4) gear selection not always mentally auto enough.

    5) too much braking

    I'm pretty confident my fit is right, it feels good, was fitted by a pro who rode with me, etc.

    What should I be focused on now that I am well underway? For the most part my focus has been traffic, potholes and my HR. I ride about an hour with my HR in the 150-60's.

    I have a trainer "CycleOps" but I don't use it, I don't know how to start, it is pretty boring. Any beginner programs? Its too windy today outside.
    Too much braking? I'd rather brake too much than not enough.

  7. #7
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    My list

    1) Buying a bike that's too small.

    2) Knee or knees swing out to the side.. I have seen guys with 3 and 4K bikes doing that. Saddle could be low, leg length differences, bike too small, unbalanced muscles, pronation/suppination.. lots of things to go wrong.

    3) Too much bike... every year we get posts from adults who have bought perfomance bikes for their out of shape bodies and they wonder why they're in pain.... I can't imagine why

    4) Too much too soon... after laying on his couch for 30 years Mr Card Eyack Arrest decided to enter a triathlon the next weekend. Funeral services to be held...

    5) Not reading... there is a lot to learn.. perhaps most importantly you need to learn to deal with traffic. Odds are it's been a while and that your old bike was slower. Well, you are playing in traffic, and if you don't know what you are doing; the consequences can be unpleasant, if sometimes brief. I have seen the underside of a car while still attached to my bike. It's not a good idea.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
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  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Please help me.

    I don't do group rides or read cycling mags or have friends that cycle....
    Now I think that's kind of sad. But that's seen from an older rider's eyes. When I was a kid, I rode by myself everywhere and loved every minute of it. Back in those days, no one rode. I'd never see another cyclist, as opposed to people on bicycles. So yeah, you ride. That's most of it. Don't worry about "mistakes." Be your inner cyclist. It's about you, the bike, the road.

    But you want to get good. Quickly, not over 50 years of riding. The quickest way is to go on group rides. Otherwise, you're inventing the wheel every day. No one can think of everything themselves, have every good idea themselves, or speak Greek without a teacher. On a group ride, everyone is your teacher, even the stupid riders. You get to see them make mistakes rather than making every one yourself. And a lot of riding is knowing when to go easy and when to go hard. Group riding helps there, too. But I suppose that, for some reason, group rides are unavailable to you.

    Not trying to enumerate "mistakes" here, obviously. Another simple huge step is to get rollers instead of the trainer. You'll use the rollers, believe me. They're fun. Set them up where you can have a 24" box fan and, to be really cool, see yourself in a mirror. Then you can work on position, form, all that stuff. The cheap Performance rollers are just fine. Listen to the noise. Try to make it an even whirrrrr. That will do more for your riding than any other single thing. You'll be able to ride the fog line with a quiet body and bike.

    Oh - another thing here - watch cycling videos and immitate the positions of the pros. Especially watch their feet, hands, wrists, forearms, and backs. You don't have to get as low as they do, but they do it right.

    You evidently already use a cyclocomputer (with cadence) and a HRM. That's good.

    I've found a very worthwhile training aid to be the PC Coach training software. www.pccoach.com It's worth the money. I've been using it for many years. It's not perfect, but it's a good start for the self-coached.

    Have fun.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Another thing ...

    When I first started cycling "seriously", I took out every single book on cycling from the local library ... small town, small library, 5 books on cycling ... and I read them from cover to cover. I can't remember off-hand which books they were, but I'm pretty sure I wrote them down somewhere ... however, they'd be quite old now.

    Using those books, I set my 57 cm department store bicycle up as best I could (my current bicycle is 49 cm and was custom built for me, so that department store bicycle was just a wee bit too big for me ... but I absolutely could not afford anything else at the time), and I followed much of the advice in the books for what to wear, how to ride, how to train, and so on.

    I grew up in a cycling environment, my parent's house was (and still is) full of bicycles, and my father subscribed to Bicycling Mag back when it was good ... in the 70s ... and he was the first cyclist I knew who wore padded shorts, a jersey, and a helmet, so I wasn't going into cycling with no background knowledge, but reading those books, and then experimenting with what they said, on my own really helped.

  10. #10
    Sprinters are Sexy
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Please help me.
    Sure, just keep in mind that what follows are suggestions and NOTHING is a substitute for actual road miles.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    I don't do group rides or read cycling mags or have friends that cycle....
    You should consider joining the occasional group ride. You can emulate the good riders. Conversely, the bad riders will teach you what NOT to do - just be sure to learn to recognize them and keep a safe distance.

    Magazines like Bicycling can be educational to the beginning rider. Just don't take the articles as gospel. It never ceases to amaze me how, regardless of the sport and the magazines devoted to that sport, many of the training theories and philosophies are brought to fashion, dismissed, and re-discovered. As a general rule, if your BS detector goes off or if your body doesn't like a program, it's probably not for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    1) No powered upstroke, poor form.
    You need to work on a complete pedal stroke. Physiologically, we humans are at our most powerful in the down stroke. That doesn't mean you should neglect the backstroke - think of scraping mud off the sole of your shoe - and upstroke - flick the knee up and maybe even towards to the handlebar. Like I said, the down stroke is the most powerful; but the back and up action takes weight off so the leg doing the pushing is working more efficiently. I don't know about your trainer; however, with mine, I can tell by the sound of the flywheel if my pedaling is good (i.e. no noise spikes but a steady hummm).

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    2) leaning too much on my palms and need to shift back to my core.
    Check the fit on your bike again. If you're riding with fatigued triceps, you will have a much higher risk of losing control of your steering - not to mention absorbing bumps with a fluid upper body.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    3) cadence needs thought to stay high (90's)
    I'm of the opinion that beginners are better off learning a higher cadence (i.e. 90s to low 100/110/perhaps even higher) and AS THEY GAIN MORE EXPERIENCE they can decide what cadence works best for their individual style.

    For example, I prefer a cadence in the 85-90 range. However, I will sit in a paceline in the upper range of my comfort level (around 110-115) because this keeps the lactic acid levels low. When there's an attack, I can go into a bigger gear and respond immediately. Now, if I was already close to my lactic acid redline at the time of the attack, my legs might be too pumped to do anything worth a damn.

    Also, pushing too big of a gear can lead to tendon problems. And women, due to their q-factor, can be more vulnerable to tendon injuries. There is also some evidence that, during menstruation, a certain hormone is released which can weaken tendons.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    4) gear selection not always mentally auto enough.
    One of the most influential books I read on cycling is the one by the great Ned Overend - the first American to win the worlds in cross-country mountain biking. The first world champion, as a matter of fact. One of the things he stressed is the importance of anticipating the shift and being in the right gear. You need to pro-actively work on this until it becomes second nature. Very few things in cycling are as comically ugly as watching someone bogged down in too big of a gear or bouncing in the saddle from being in too small of a gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    5) too much braking
    A few tricks:

    1) stop pedaling and coast - the equivalent of taking your foot off the gas

    2) sit up - the bigger profile increases air resistance

    3) learn to feather the brakes; if you do lock up one or both wheels, check the tires (chances are, they're ruined)

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    I'm pretty confident my fit is right, it feels good, was fitted by a pro who rode with me, etc.
    With above-average genetics, a motivated rider who starts racing early enough can grind his way up cat 5, 4, 3, and then 2. And because 1s and 2s generally race together, many of these 2s call themselves pros. Now, I don't know if your friend is one of these people or actually has bona fide claim of being a professional racer. Regardless, never be afraid to ask for second opinions. You're better off seeking the advice of a profession fitter and not a professional rider.
    Last edited by LifeIsSuffering; 03-31-08 at 09:46 PM.

  11. #11
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeIsSuffering View Post
    With above-average genetics, a motivated rider who starts racing early enough can grind his way up cat 5, 4, 3, and then 2. And because 1s and 2s generally race together, many of these 2s call themselves pros.
    Considering that every male starts as a 5 and you only need to races to get to a 4 (women start as 4), there isn't much grinding your way up to 5, 4. I don't know any 2s that would call themselves pros, that would be pretty lame. I do know several pros and ex-pros though, they are usually pretty helpful.

  12. #12
    Über Member Ryleeryno's Avatar
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    3) cadence needs thought to stay high (90's)

    In most cases it is better to maintain a high cadence. I find that most newbies ride a very low cadence (especially uphills) and end up wearing down their knees.

    My addition to this list...
    144) Every other cyclist on the road wants to race you.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sounddevisor's Avatar
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    catherine96821, you haven't mentioned what your cycling goals are, or what you are finding lacking in your riding right now - that might help to narrow down some of the suggestions.

    Are you looking to do long-distance riding/touring? Do you want to race? Do triathlons? Are you doing it to lose weight/get in shape? Each of these would probably lead to somewhat different suggestions from people about what to focus on or look out for.

    That said, here's a couple of mistakes that I see new cyclists make pretty consistently, and regardless of discipline:

    1) Not enough attention to proper bike fit! More important than any other equipment choice, weight weeny-ism, or anything else - if the bike doesn't fit, you won't enjoy riding it as much, and you may even end up injuring yourself. If you are serious about riding and planning to spend any amount of time on the bike, it's probably worth it to get properly fitted by a professional fitter - the $80 or $100 is costs is a lot cheaper than arthroscopy on your knees or monthly visits to the chiropractor.

    2) Pushing too big of a gear. I see this all the time, people grinding away in some huge gear at 20 or 30 rpms. This does very little for your cardio development and is a great way to destroy your knees. I heartily second all of the above suggestions to use a fairly high cadence - 90 to 100 rpms - as much as possible. It can take some concentration to keep that cadence up at first, but it will eventually become second nature. Your knees and cardio-vascular system will both thank you for it.

  14. #14
    Look 555 fledgling catherine96821's Avatar
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    Great reading, thank you all very much.

    My goals would be to be in better aerobic condition and progress with that. I do not need to lose any weight.
    Since I ride with someone so much better than me (who does not know that much, he is a very natural rider) this presents certain safety issues because I am aware that I am often , over my head. (wind, busy intersections, uncertainty owning the road) I don't think he enjoys the cerebral part of exercise or sports but still excels in everything he does. My point is that he does not have the answers when I ask things. (But he has bike tools)
    I just want to get on my bike and have a few things to focus on for now and not develop bad habits.

    I am thinking I should start doing one leg pedaling on the trainer. I wanted rollers they sound great but I chickened out and bought the trainer instead.

    I probably will not compete but will cycle 30-40 miles with my mate. He sprints ahead, loops, etc.

    The guy that fit my bike (and went on a ride with me to do it) was

    Momentum Multisport's owner, Nguyen Le, just completed the 2007 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Read all about his experience in his race report. (A very cool swim shot)

    I felt lucky he took the time. Not sure there would be anyone better in Honolulu.
    (We are kind of remote)

    The bike feels good. I'm usually a bit stressed out after even 15 miles in the very busy traffic, more than tired. JB thinks I'm not pushing hard enough, but then Marines always say that. I mean, I have no intention of puking.

    okay, I'll go through this and make some notes. xoxo
    Last edited by catherine96821; 04-01-08 at 08:30 PM.
    from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sounddevisor's Avatar
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    To develop better aerobic conditioning, you probably don't need to push as hard as you (or your mate) might think. If you can comfortably maintain a conversation, or are slightly out of breath but still able to talk, that's probably as hard as you need to work to be getting good benefit for your cardio-vascular system. Rather than working harder, you probably want to be trying to work longer - more time working in that aerobic development zone will equate to better conditioning.

    One-leg pedaling drills on the trainer might be of some help, but you'll probably get more benefit by working on increasing your cadence. Try doing one- or two-minute intervals during your ride where you get your cadence up around 10 rpms faster than feels comfortable, and hold it there. As you develop your spin, you'll be able to hold those intervals longer and longer, and eventually you will find that your "natural" cadence is higher than it used to be.

    As far as being stressed out by traffic, that's hard, but hopefully as you ride more you will gain confidence and lose some of that stress. As other people have suggested, if you can find a group ride to go on periodically, that can be very helpful - you will learn a lot just by being around, and observing, more experienced riders. Plus, being in a larger group can help in terms of confidence in traffic.

    I have a similar situation when I ride with my wife - I am a pretty experienced cyclist and she is not, plus she is much more cautious by nature than I am! She gets quite nervous in traffic, especially dealing with intersections, turns, etc. She is also perhaps the only person in the world who goes downhill slower than she goes up! However, as she spends more time on the bike she has become much more confident - the main thing I try to do is get her out riding every week or weekend, so she doesn't lose the confidence she has gained.

    Stick with it, it sounds like you have a very good attitude and I'm sure you'll make good progress quickly. The most important thing is to enjoy it, then you'll keep at it forever!

  16. #16
    Look 555 fledgling catherine96821's Avatar
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    Try doing one- or two-minute intervals during your ride where you get your cadence up around 10 rpms faster than feels comfortable, and hold it there.
    Your pointers very appreciated.

    last night we rode 15 miles (sometimes that is all we get in before it is too dark, I had lights on my return) and I have found a loop in an easy freshly paved side neighborhood and I stay there and work on cadence and getting in the drops at higher speeds, etc. He takes off on a fast 10 mile loop by himself that involves a lot of rush hour traffic and hills. I think we have found a bit of a compromise in this routine. We are still "cycling together" but not every minute of that hour.

    So...about your aerobic conditioning lower intensity comment, I was under the impression that an hour at 150 was better than an hour and a half at 130. I thought that intensity intervals were the newly found more efficient approach to exercise? Am I wrong?

    I do have a hip wobble at over 100/min cadence that I am attributing to weak upstroke.

    I worked on feathering the brakes last night and it felt much better! I had a motorcyle wreck once at 15 by slamming on the front break and I realized I was totally avoiding ever touching the front break, lol.

    Is there an easy way to tell if my seat needs to move back when I'm in the drops it feels a bit crowded, like I need to be reaching more?
    Last edited by catherine96821; 04-02-08 at 07:12 PM.
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  17. #17
    Sprinters are Sexy
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Considering that every male starts as a 5 and you only need to races to get to a 4 (women start as 4), there isn't much grinding your way up to 5, 4. I don't know any 2s that would call themselves pros, that would be pretty lame. I do know several pros and ex-pros though, they are usually pretty helpful.
    I define "grinding" as putting in the time but not doing anything particularly brilliant.

    Like you said, it only takes a certain number of mass starts/finishes to move out of the lower cats. And I have met the guys who started racing in their early 20's, were mostly pack fodder, did okay in the smaller events, and finally made it into the 2s and called themselves pros. They kinda have a point: they race on a team of 1/2s (with the same sponsors) and race for a cash purse.

    I never said these guys weren't helpful. But I'd recommend first and foremost someone who fits all types of riders day in and day out. Too often, the hardcore racer subset have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner and the needs that beginner has.

    Now, after this base fit is established, she should keep an open mind to any advice from more experienced people. Then it's her prerogative to take the advice or ignore it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Great reading, thank you all very much.

    My goals would be to be in better aerobic condition and progress with that. I do not need to lose any weight.
    Since I ride with someone so much better than me (who does not know that much, he is a very natural rider) this presents certain safety issues because I am aware that I am often , over my head. (wind, busy intersections, uncertainty owning the road) I don't think he enjoys the cerebral part of exercise or sports but still excels in everything he does. My point is that he does not have the answers when I ask things. (But he has bike tools)
    I just want to get on my bike and have a few things to focus on for now and not develop bad habits.
    I'm not aware of the dynamic you have with this fellow. However, it does sound like your ability to ride safely is compromised.

    Back when I lived and breathed rockclimbing, I read this report of a British mountaineering team that failed to establish a new line on one of the 8000 meter mountains. When they returned home, a senior and well established mountaineer genuinely congratulated the leader on a job well done because they all made it back in one piece. The summit was irrelevant.

    The unfortunately reality of road riding is that we must know how to deal with traffic. And your friend, as the de facto leader, should base his actions on his and your safety.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    I am thinking I should start doing one leg pedaling on the trainer. I wanted rollers they sound great but I chickened out and bought the trainer instead.
    One legged training has it's benefits. Keep in mind that if your saddle height is off AND/OR you just get sloppy, you can develop bad habits in terms of rocking the hips.

    You most likely know this already. However, for others that may not: whenever you attempt a new technique, do it when you are physically and mentally fresh; do it correctly and STOP before you fatigue and bad habits creep in.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    The guy that fit my bike (and went on a ride with me to do it) was

    Momentum Multisport's owner, Nguyen Le, just completed the 2007 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Read all about his experience in his race report. (A very cool swim shot)

    I felt lucky he took the time. Not sure there would be anyone better in Honolulu.
    (We are kind of remote)
    Well, I don't know how the fitting went. I do know that, as your fitness and flexibility improves, you will most likely have to make adjustments. As you evolve as a cyclist, so will your position.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post

    The bike feels good. I'm usually a bit stressed out after even 15 miles in the very busy traffic, more than tired. JB thinks I'm not pushing hard enough, but then Marines always say that. I mean, I have no intention of puking.

    okay, I'll go through this and make some notes. xoxo
    Catch phrases like "no pain, no gain" "go big or go home" etc. etc. certainly look cool on t-shirts.

    Strangely enough, I've yet to see anyone wear a t-shirt that said, "I went too hard too soon and now I have crippling tendinitis." If these studs were honest, shirts like these would make up the bulk of their wardrobe - especially as they reach middle age.
    Last edited by LifeIsSuffering; 04-02-08 at 11:23 PM.

  19. #19
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    I do have a hip wobble at over 100/min cadence that I am attributing to weak upstroke.
    Powering the upstroke is over-rated and much current thought tends toward simply unweighting the foot on the upstroke. However, you should work on coming over the top and across the bottom with effort.

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    Look 555 fledgling catherine96821's Avatar
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    much current thought tends toward simply unweighting the foot on the upstroke.
    really? hmm. Feels better to me.

    I do know that, as your fitness and flexibility improves, you will most likely have to make adjustments.
    I just moved my seat back today, because I am spending more time in the drops. (*wind advice* got me dropping! lol)

    However, it does sound like your ability to ride safely is compromised.
    However, it does sound like your ability to ride safely is compromised.
    yes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottsville View Post
    Powering the upstroke is over-rated and much current thought tends toward simply unweighting the foot on the upstroke.
    Not to mention what little data exists supports that and seems to show that's what the most successful riders do. http://www.midweekclub.ca/articles/coyle91.pdf

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    Thanks for that.

    I just finished Road Cycling Skills this weekend and have this question:

    What will limit my abilty to pull a steep hill if I am out of the saddle and on the smallest cog? Sometimes ..I just stop. If all my weight is on the pedal, I feel I am missing something obvious in the physics.
    The only thing I can think of is more momentum, but eventually that would not be a variable.

    Also, in what instances are the cogs referred to by *39 x 19* etc. Are these standard road bike cog numbers? for small, med, large?

    Also, I get confused when people say higher gear, as compared to a car. is it the same or the reverse? Higher gear is more rpm right? Low gear would be going down the hill on my bike, the pedals would not spin as fast..

    It just seems like sometimes it is used in the reverse when I am reading cycling. Something about the terminolgy is confusing me.
    Last edited by catherine96821; 04-07-08 at 02:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    What will limit my abilty to pull a steep hill if I am out of the saddle and on the smallest cog? Sometimes ..I just stop. If all my weight is on the pedal, I feel I am missing something obvious in the physics.
    The only thing I can think of is more momentum, but eventually that would not be a variable.
    Momentum and leg stength. Quads to push down and hamstrings to pull up on the other side. Also climbing you can get your whole body into it and pull up on the bars on the side that you are pushing down on the pedal.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Also, in what instances are the cogs referred to by *39 x 19* etc. Are these standard road bike cog numbers? for small, med, large?
    The first number is the teeth on the front chainring, the second number the teeth on the back cog. Front chainrings are usually indicated by the combination of sizes, e.g. 53/39 for "standard", 50/34 for a compact (of course, there are other standard and compact sizes as well). Cassettes of cogs are usually referred to by their spread, e.g. 11-23 or 12-25. When you see something like 39x19, they are telling you the specific gears being used, in this example 39 up front, 19 in back.

    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    Also, I get confused when people say higher gear, as compared to a car. is it the same or the reverse? Higher gear is more rpm right? Low gear would be going down the hill on my bike, the pedals would not spin as fast..

    It just seems like sometimes it is used in the reverse when I am reading cycling. Something about the terminolgy is confusing me.
    The high/low thing always confuses me as well. Low is "easier", high is "harder". 39x19 is lower than 53x11.

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    oh, thank you, I have been going nuts on this.

    gotcha.
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine96821 View Post
    <snip>
    What will limit my abilty to pull a steep hill if I am out of the saddle and on the smallest cog? Sometimes ..I just stop. If all my weight is on the pedal, I feel I am missing something obvious in the physics.
    The only thing I can think of is more momentum, but eventually that would not be a variable.
    <snip>
    IMHO, riding well out of the saddle is difficult to learn.

    Try this: on the flat, hands either on the hoods or drops, put the bike in your biggest gear, or almost biggest (now that you know what that means!), depending on your speed. Then ride out of the saddle for a while, trying to keep a tight chain the whole time, and of course trying to ride in a straight line. You'll see that you have to do at least some variation on "pedaling circles" to do that. This skill will become your out-of-the-saddle "rest stroke" on hills.

    Then try this: Stomps. Again, with the bike in your biggest or almost biggest gear, slow down to nearly walking speed. Then hit it! Accelerate as hard as you can. Pull up very hard on the backstroke and try to do the "push forward" and "pull back" thing as well. By balancing the upstroke and downstroke, don't allow either the front or rear wheel to lift off the ground while doing this. Though that may not become a problem until you get stronger. Stop the effort after about 15 seconds and slow down again. Repeat a few times. If you can't get the bike to really move, try a smaller gear. This is the skill you need to sprint and to climb very steep hills. Stomps will also really strengthen your legs. Very good exercise. Do about once a week.

    If you don't already ride with a helmet mirror, get one. But never rely on the mirror to make judgements on whether or not it is safe to move left in traffic. Always look back.

    Heart rate numbers are pretty meaningless without your knowing your max or lactate threshold HR. It sounds like you are doing just fine. Your biggest thing right now will be developing pedaling and bike handling skills. You already know that. First be safe and build mileage. You'll get a feel for the rest of it. You're smart and you want it. Those are the two biggest factors for success in a sport. Talent not nearly so much. Depending on you define success!

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